You must know how I love getting behind the scenes! Especially if a factory visit is involved. Recently I met up with Nika Mokhtassi, the founder & designer behind new east London handbag brand Paradise Row and she took me on a little De Beauvoir Town (East London!) tour to see how and where her bags are made…
An East Londoner herself – check out our new #eastlondonpretty tag on Instagram! – right from the start Nika (a former business consultant) was adamant that her handbags should be sourced and made in the textiles heritage rich area. So she took me to see the leather shop, the hardware fittings shop and the factory all within a stone’s throw from one another in De Beauvoir Town, just by Dalston Junction. I’ve mentioned before how each Paradise Row handbag comes with a little charm paying homage to a East London history or tradition – The Pearly; a pearl to represent The Pearly Kings & Queens (who wore Pearly suits to collect for charity) and The Silkweaver;a needle and thread charm representing East London’s once thriving textiles industry.
It was fantastic to meet the team at the factory working in perfect harmony; while we were there an intense discussion took place on the exact fit of a charm to the leather for the next batch of Pearly bags. The attention to detail that can go into leather working forever impresses me. As does Nika’s passion for the collection she’s created – the relationships she’s made on her journey and the discoveries she’s made about the part of town she loves so much. I also got a sneak peek on Nika’s phone of her next collection, available in the autumn. Definitely keep an eye out for the new designs, wish I could tell you more! Anyway, I hope you enjoy these behind the scenes pictures, a lovely insight into the making of something beautiful right here in East London!
“I didn’t just want to make a pretty bag,” Nika told me. “I wanted to make something meaningful that spotlighted society and culture. What better way to do that than create the first collection around where the bags are made, in East London. Each design highlights a cultural institution and heritage of the East End.”